May 27, 2008

Escape from Gattaca

Apropos our discussion of genetics, ?dangerous knowledge,? and Barack Obama last week, Steve Sailer has a great new article over at VDARE critiquing NR?s recent vague warnings of a conspiracy of unnamed ?genetic determinists? who seek a Gattaca-like America.

The article, by Jim Manzi, gives the impression of high-minded seriousness, but as Sailer points out, it?s ultimately ?[s]ymptomatic of the intellectual and moral decline of National Review into just another dispenser of the conventional wisdom.?

It wasn?t always so: “Remember?this was the magazine that, under then-editor John O?Sullivan devoted its cover to a symposium on The Bell Curve instead of the simultaneous GOP Congressional takeover.” 

What?s at stake is not just research on genes, but the basic conceptual paradigm for thinking about public policy, society, and, well, MAN

Nor is there any mention of the actual reigning model of human behavior that buttresses government policy in a host of fields from education to affirmative action to immigration: what Steven Pinker calls “The Blank Slate”?that human beings are infinitely malleable.

Ideas like this?powerful, popular, and wrong?have more than enough spokesmen already.

(Re: our own discussion of the topic, some highlights can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here, but there?re many more).


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